MCAD Mural by Faile Art

MCAD News and Events: New Masters, Minors, People, and More!

~ Press Release Courtesy of Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

The Auction at MCAD

The Auction at MCAD features exceptional quality artworks created by MCAD alumni, faculty, and staff sold via silent and live auction.


New Product Design Major

The new BFA in product design focuses on creating great products and acquiring an understanding of where they fit into the marketplace. Prototypes to products will be tested and refined by cutting, welding, sewing, researching, casting, programming, and 3D printing. The brand-new product design major educates an emerging generation of creatives who want to master the interplay of design, usability, and manufacturing.

MCAD launched the long-awaited product design program in January 2018. This new major will enable the next generation of creative thinkers to develop inspiring everyday products. The curriculum will roll out over the next four years as MCAD grows this forward-thinking program.

Product design students will:
• Develop and refine ideas about how products work, look, and feel in two-, three-, and four-dimensional sketches, in a variety of media
• Build models, functional prototypes, and digital representations to test ideas
• Communicate ideas in compelling ways to clients, users, manufacturers, investors, and business partners
• Understand the historic, economic, and environmental factors impacting product design
• Advocate for the person who will use the product, even when they are not the one buying it
• Gain foundational skills in a variety of creative media
• Acquire the skills and knowledge for a professional career in a variety of fields

New Master’s Program in Graphic and Web Design

The master of arts in graphic and web design is a fully online, 30-credit program that launched in early 2018. Designed with motivated, working adults in mind, the program allows flexibility through several full-time or part-time paths of completion. Students can expect to build a strong portfolio in order to prepare for careers in the field of graphic and web design or ensure a step-up in their career advancement efforts.

Courses cover design principles, typography, research, ideation, web design, programming, workflow management, and more. Students can start in fall or spring and take one or two classes per semester. Asynchronous classes offer flexibility, allowing students to study and learn even with an existing schedule.

The program blends theoretical and practical work in the topics of design history and theory; typography and visual communication; research and ideation processes; and web specific design and development. The program also will address professional topics related to the design field, including developing and presenting creative vision and voice, workflow, and client relationships. The program recognizes and addresses that the modern designer is expected to enter the workforce as a well-rounded contributor in print, digital, and web environments.

The master of arts in graphic and web design will engage students from around the world in shared discourse across diverse sectors of design and development, planning, branding, and business and entrepreneurial communities to study a wide range of personal, professional, and business issues that promote best practices in the expanding field of design.

The master of arts in graphic and web design addresses the educational needs of students who are:
• graphic designers with a print focus seeking knowledge and skills in the field of interactive and web design
• marketing, design, and business/entrepreneurial professionals seeking to improve their skills and knowledge in graphic and web design or developers seeking to expand their design skills
• recent graduates in the design, business, and marketing fields who are seeking to extend their education with
more specialized knowledge in an online learning environment
• motivated to gain greater skills and knowledge in the field of graphic and web design in preparation for career
change or advancement in the above areas

Lafe Smith, who joined the MCAD faculty in 2017, is the director of the new online master of arts in web and graphic design. Smith was previously the academic director and program coordinator in the School of Media at the Art Institutes, where he also taught and assisted with online course coordination. He works as a freelance illustrator and holds an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in sequential art.

For more information, check out

Two New Minors Introduced: Engaged and Public Arts and Creative Writing

While MCAD students focus heavily on their chosen majors during their time at MCAD, minors provide them the opportunity to pursue other interests and focus their professional and personal goals. In addition to art history and teaching artist minors, the new creative writing minor and the new engaged and public arts minor help students solidify a direction.

Engaged and Public Arts

Aiming to expand the training for students creating works for and with communities, MCAD introduced the engaged and public arts minor in Fall 2017. The minor combines the power of the liberal arts and the studio to enable students to effectively and ethically bring the imagination, craft, and skill of their art or design practice into the public sphere. Students learn about arts engagement, interventionist strategies, and collaborative practices in order to create socially engaged art. Research, fieldwork, and direct experiences within the public sphere allow students to broaden their cultural knowledge and determine their unique value as art makers.

The minor follows a philosophy that an artist or designer acts a partner in making community-based work instead of working in a vacuum.

Creative Writing

There is demand for good writers in every field, and art and design is no exception. So, in Fall 2016, MCAD officially launched its creative writing minor. This area of study allows students to hone their writing skills while exploring a full range of genres including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, scholarly writing, and business and technical writing. Students are able to tailor the minor to the specific writing skills and practices they will need for their area, whether writing narrative storylines, grant proposals, or poetry.

Housed under the Liberal Arts Department, creative writing has broad appeal as MCAD’s most popular minor, spanning students from every discipline who can choose to emphasize nonfiction, creative, or business writing. “The minor can help students slow down and think in terms of long-form narratives and more nuanced arguments—to think not necessarily in a visual way and to use different parts of their brain and creative abilities,” says Liberal Arts Chair and Professor Gerald Ronning.


Becky Bates
Director of Career Development

Becky Bates, a veteran in the career services arena, joined MCAD in January to lead the Career Development department. Bates’ experience includes twenty years of admissions and career services work in higher education. She’s got great enthusiasm and an abundance of local connections to complement her track record.

Building upon the recent success of two annual career events, the Emerging Talent Showcase and the Internship Fair, Bates will be working with local organizations and companies to showcase MCAD talent.

Denise DeLuca
Director of Sustainable Design

Denise DeLuca has been hired as the new director of the sustainable design program at MCAD. DeLuca has been an adjunct faculty member in the sustainable design program since 2012. In addition, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of sustainability through her work with the Biomimicry Institute, BCI: Biomimicry for Creative Innovation, and as education director with the International Living Future Institute.

DeLuca has a master’s degree in civil engineering and has worked as an engineer for a variety of organizations, including Land & Water Consulting, CTA Architects Engineers, and through her own consulting firm.

DeLuca is the author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, as well as the author of chapters in the books Biomimicry: Nature Inspired Design and Inspired by Nature: Building Community Capacity Through Creative Leadership.

Gabriel Ruegg
Associate Professor, Product Design

Bringing a wealth of experience teaching and working in the field, Gabriel Ruegg was the perfect choice to lead MCAD in building its new product design program. His enthusiastic approach to the task at hand speaks to his entrepreneurial spirit and a readiness to equate “making” with both product design and curriculum. An industrial designer who has worked in a number of industries, including pet products, toys, food-service hardware, and consumer kitchen products, Ruegg’s clients include retailers such as Williams Sonoma and Kohl’s and brands such as KitchenAid and Martha Stewart. He previously taught in the industrial design programs at Pratt Institute and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.


The Auction at MCAD

Bid. Buy. Collect
Friday, May 18, 2018

The Auction at MCAD is a unique art party for the creative community featuring exceptional quality artworks created by MCAD alumni, faculty, and staff sold via silent and live auction.

Bid. Buy. Collect. Or just come to have a good time. Either way, you’re directly supporting the next generation of artists, designers, and entrepreneurs who fuel the creative economy of our city and state. Since 2013, The Auction at MCAD has raised more than $700,000 in scholarship funds for MCAD students.

More than 95% of MCAD students receive financial aid. Proceeds from The Auction at MCAD support this effort.

MCAD Art Sale
Thursday–Saturday, November 15–17, 2018
The Nation’s Largest College Art Sale

Held every year the weekend before Thanksgiving, the MCAD Art Sale is your chance to buy one-of-a-kind art created by students and recent graduates at unbeatable prices.

Now in its twenty-first year, the MCAD Art Sale is a Minnesota tradition that has generated more than $3,000,000 for emerging artists. All proceeds go directly to the individual artists or to the MCAD Art Sale Scholarship Fund.

This event has gained a tremendous reputation as one of the nation’s top destinations for affordable, appreciable artwork by leading-edge artists and designers who are creating not only what’s new, but also what’s next.